Highland Spring refused permission to demolish landmark Perthshire hotel

Proposals by bottled water producer Highland Spring to build new Perthshire headquarters have been rejected over plans to demolish a landmark hotel.

The company had been planning to bring down the Blackford Hotel and convert the surrounding buildings for offices and facilities.

However the hotel, which was built around 1896, was awarded protected C-list status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Highland Spring had turned to the Scottish Government in a bid to have the listing rejected and allow it to pursue development plans.

A report submitted on behalf of the company said: “They had initially hoped to use the building for office accommodation but soon found that the state of the buildings, the costs of maintenance, running costs and the spaces available meant that this was impractical. In short, there is no other practical use for the old hotel building.

“It was only after making this assessment that Highland Spring engaged architects to look at options to convert the maltings building to form new headquarters.

“These proposals will ensure the long term viable and sustainable use for the ‘B’ Listed maltings buildings but these proposals rely on the proposal to demolish the Blackford Hotel and will not be viable if the hotel is to be retained.”

They added: “In summary, we would like to appeal the decision to list the Blackford Hotel on the grounds that the building does not conform to the criteria of age and rarity, architectural or historic interest or close historic association.”

HES wrote to the government defending its case.

It said: “It is our view that the Blackford Hotel is of special architectural or historic interest

“What sets the Blackford Hotel apart is the high degree of architectural embellishment, particularly at the first floor and roofline of the principal elevation and this amount of architectural detailing is unusual for a hotel in a small settlement.”

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